Drug charges warrant suspensionPublished 12:02am Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Maybe one day awful decisions by Ferriday leaders will cease to amaze us. Today is not that day.
Outgoing Mayor Glen McGlothin caved to the pleadings of an often-contentious board of aldermen Monday, allowing a man who was recently arrested by the FBI on drug charges to continue working with children in the town’s recreation programs.
McGlothin initially placed McKinley D. Bates III on unpaid suspension. The aldermen questioned his move last week, and McGlothin agreed to review it this week, despite expressing his clear opinion that drug charges warranted an unplanned suspension.
Bates’ arrest came with 30 others after a yearlong, joint investigation among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
He is, of course, innocent until proven guilty.
Bates will have his day in court, and we hope he is cleared of all wrongdoing.
But until that day, the Town of Ferriday is entirely within its rights to suspend Bates with or without pay.
After tears and community reminiscing, McGlothin reinstated Bates, sending him back to work with children effective immediately.
How the people of Ferriday could want a man facing FBI charges of drug possession — even if he’s later found not guilty — to lead programs targeted at putting children on a straight and narrow path is absolutely dumbfounding.
Why not just suspend him without pay until the proceedings are complete and pay him the back pay if he’s found not guilty? The children of Ferriday will most certainly hear of the charges Bates is facing. They will most certainly learn the lesson that the adults around them think it’s no big deal that the FBI claims Bates had drugs in his possession.
The lessons and precedents of this move are frightening and a good indication that today’s leaders are paving the way for more simply shocking decisions by tomorrow’s leaders.